Photographer's Note

Chinese thought likes to go by numbers. If you read Chinese history, you can find plenty of examples of the good, the bad and the ugly being nicely numbered. Also Chairman Mao got his number. No one knows for sure where it came from, but from somewhere in the mists of power came the semi-official verdict: 70/30, and this means: 70% of what he did, was good and 30% of what he did, was bad, and that seals it.

These days Mao badges and other ‘Maomorabilia’ are on sale in souvenir stalls all over China and little red books are being printed for the sole purpose of being sold as tourist souvenirs. In Lijiang seven years ago I even spotted a Mao Cultural Revolution theme bar. A bit tasteless, I thought, but business seemed to be doing OK.

If you want to read more about the legacy of Mao and the Cultural Revolution, I recommend:

- Zhai Zhenhua, Red flower of China : a personal account which is exceptional because it tells the story not from the traditional victim’s pov, but from that of a former Red Guard

- Li Zhensheng, Red color – news soldier: a very impressive collection of pictures from the Cultural Revolution, plus the story of their photographer

This picture was taken in the muslim bazar near the Great Mosque in Xi'an, but it could have been anywhere really. Anywhere, China.

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Additional Photos by Benny Verbercht (BennyV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2805 W: 35 N: 5699] (30378)
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